Geico ‘Unskippable’ and Leica ‘100’ Both Win Grand Prix Awards in Film at Cannes

Always 'Like a Girl' wins gold, narrowly missing top prize

CANNES, France—A gorgeously cinematic film for Leica by F/Nazca Saatchi & Saatchi and a hilarious and innovative preroll ad for Geico by The Martin Agency each won a Grand Prix in Film at the Cannes Lions festival here tonight, an odd couple of brilliant executions indeed.

The Film Lions jury, led by Grey's global creative chief Tor Myhren, was allowed to award one Grand Prix for TV work and one for non-TV work—and they did just that.

At a press conference Saturday morning, Myhren was effusive about both campaigns. "We were looking from the outset for something new. Really new," he said. "And new can be super scary. New can be a little bit uncomfortable. And I think we actually found that."

The jury awarded one specific spot, "Family," in Geico's celebrated "Unskippable" preroll campaign from Martin in Richmond, Va., which presented the brand pitch in the first five seconds (i.e., before the "Skip ad" button appears) and then humorously showed characters pretending to be frozen as the action continued around them. "You can't skip this Geico ad because it's already over," the voiceover says.

The campaign "breaks every single rule of filmmaking," Myhren said. "Instead of begging you to watch this ad, they challenge you not to watch it. And you can't take your eyes off it. Instead of a long story with a tenuous link to the brand at the end, there's a gigantic logo of the brand in the middle of the screen the entire time. This deceptively simple piece of communication really showed us that film can reinvent the way you look at media—the least sexy medium in the world, which is preroll."

Meanwhile, the two-minute Leica ad from Brazil, marking the 100th anniversary of the brand's first camera, delightfully and beautifully re-created 35 famous photos of spontaneous moments—celebrating the ability of portable cameras to capture real, unscripted, unposed life.

Myhren said 19 of the 22 jurors selected Leica for the Grand Prix on the very first vote.

"This is a nearly perfect piece of filmmaking," he said. "The visual storytelling is unique and stunning. The writing is absolutely amazing. And importantly, it's a category that is challenged right now with cell phones and with photography becoming a little bit less sexy."

While there was little debate about the TV Grand Prix, there was plenty of discussion regarding the non-TV Grand Prix. Along with Geico, the jurors also strongly considered two other campaigns for the top prize.

The first was Wieden + Kennedy London's "The Other Side" YouTube film for Honda, in which users can press the R key to switch between two parallel stories about the same man that match up shot for shot—one bright and happy, one dark and dangerous. The other was Leo Burnett's "Like a Girl" campaign for P&G's Always, which aims to turn that phrase from a traditional insult to a message of empowerment.

But in the end, the Geico work was more formally innovative.

"Brands have lived in preroll, but they've lived there so boringly," Myhren said. "We've accepted that space as just sucking for so long. We must have watched ['Family'] 20 times, and we laughed every single time. And the brand comes through so strongly."

In addition to the two Grand Prix, there were 10 gold Lions given out, with five of them going to U.S. agencies. The U.S. also won 13 silver Lions and 18 bronze Lions.

Check out two lists below: First, all the Grand Prix and gold Lion winners from all over the world, and then all the U.S. Grand Prix, gold, silver and bronze winners.